Aitana Bonmatí chooses a project for refugee children in Lesbos to receive VISA’s player of the match donation


L’acte de lliurament del donatiu es va celebrar a la llotja del Camp Nou

The Barça midfielder presented the Visa Player of the Match 50,000 euro donation from the UEFA Women´s Champions League final to Movement on the Ground, an organisation that runs sports programmes for refugee children on the island of Lesbos, Greece.

Aitana Bonmatí presented the Visa Player of the Match donation of 50,000 euros to a project that promotes gender equality and social inclusion of refugee children in Lesbos. The project will be delivered by Movement on the Ground and with support from Barça Foundation and UEFA Foundation for Children. 

The Player of the Match Award, which has been presented by Visa since 2019, celebrates individual excellence in women’s football. In honour of the award, Visa gives a €50,000 donation to a charity chosen by the winner. 

The ceremony took place in Presidential Box of Nou Camp attended by Jackie Willcox, Visa Head of Marketing Southern Europe, Adil Izemrane, co-founder of Movement on the Ground, as well as three coaches of the project, Anna, Konstantina and Mohamad. During the ceremony, Aitana spoke with attendees about their experiences of working with refugees in Lesbos and about the importance and impact of the project for refugee children. 

Aitana Bonmatí, who is an ambassador for Barça Foundation, shared, "I hope this donation helps girls improve their situation and their emotional wellbeing through practicing sport. It has been very interesting to learn first hand about the situation in Lesbos and the excellent work that is being carried out".

Jackie Willcox of Visa explained, "We congratulate Aitana Bonmati on her win as Visa Player of the Match. One of the main reasons we sponsor Women’s football is to promote gender equality and social inclusion, so we are thrilled Aitana has chosen to give our donation to a charity that shares these goals.”

Adil Izemrane, co-founder of Movement on the Ground, thanked VISA and Aitana Bonmatí for the donation which he commented, "will enable many more refugee girls to have a safe place to play sports and forget, for a few hours a week, about the situation they are living in the largest refugee camp in Europe".

Movement on The Ground

Movement on the Ground is a non-governmental organization with core programming on Greek islands. It meets unmet needs during humanitarian crises and provides logistical, financial and service delivery assistance with the aim of improving the dignity of refugee populations. Since 2016, Movement on the Ground has delivered sports programs with refugee children and youth arriving on the island of Lesbos, including the delivery of a Football3 project funded by UEFA Foundation in 2016 and the Barça Foundation's FutbolNet methodology since 2017.

Barça Foundation and UEFA Foundation

Since 2016, UEFA Foundation for Children and Barça Foundation have collaborated to provide sports activities for refugee children on the island of Lesbos in Greece. The activities take place in the new RIC refugee camp, after the old camp burned down last september. The UEFA Foundation for Children supports 168 humanitarian and development projects around the world. More than 1,180,000 children have benefited from the Foundation's work since its creation.

More than 82 million displaced people and refugees worldwide

There are currently 82.4 million displaced people worldwide, of whom more than 26.4 million live as refugees in other countries, according to the latest data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Half of these refugees are children who have been forced to flee their homes because of conflict, violence and persecution. In this difficult context, children and young people are particularly vulnerable and often experience a lack of protection and violations of their rights.